Mark Isham - trumpet and electronics; Doug Lunn - acoustic and electric basses; Peter Maunu - guitar; Michael Barsimanto - drums
In late 1997 and early 1998, film composer, trumpeter, synthesist, and sessionman Mark Isham hunkered down for some woodshedding at one of LA's premiere, discreet jazzspots with his combo the Jericho Project. Known primarily for his work scoring films—like Crash and A River Runs Through It, among many others—Isham fuses his cinematic sensibilities to his jazz chops and his strong desire to experiment with emerging forms, whether new age, electronic, or hip hop. The result is a giant rainbow of sound and vision—an aural equivalent to Cinemascope and Technicolor.
Assembling the same core of musicians with whom he collaborated on his tribute to Miles Davis, Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project, Isham and Co. lay down some stellar, as well as some interstellar, jams. And though the Baked Potato in Studio City, California may not seem the likeliest of jazz hotspots, it is indeed where the serious gather to listen, as well as to work out new sounds.
Isham brings his ear for cinema to his own compositions. Highlights from this performance from December of 1997 include "Sacred." With its distinctly ritual feel and nod to Gregorian chant, spiritual ascension is woven into the fabric of what turns into a groove-laden trance track. "The Trip" is colored by Isham's washes of sound and horn jabs along with Peter Maunu's bold guitar strokes and held steady by the rhythm section's forward thrust. "Technicolor" raises the bar even higher with a full complement of vibrant musical shapes and textures and a heady confluence of inspirations from found sound to techno and house music. Let's just say, you'll never hear "the slicing of a carrot" quite the same way again…
With echoes of jazz auteur Miles in the mix, thanks to Isham's evocative trumpet stabs and gorgeous melodies laid over the sculpted soundscapes (a la In a Silent Way), he pays homage to inspirers Davis and composer Joe Zawinul, the admitted masters of the jazz fusion form. But as he strives to reach new heights, Isham also carves out new spatial territory—"exploring strange, new worlds, seeking out new life" and boldly going where few jazzmen have gone before. It's jazz at heart, but more like "Jazz: The Next Generation."